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The Joseph Priestley Collection

The many sides of the life of Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) and his striking legacy in many fields have fascinated historians and biographers. Priestley's considerable talents as an experimental chemist led him to make discoveries about the properties of gases that revolutionized the science. He was the first to describe the properties of oxygen and seven other common gases, the first to observe the basic process in photosynthesis, and the first to note differential gaseous diffusion; he was also the inventor of carbonated water. He identified charcoal as an excellent conductor of electricity, and one of his books, History and Present State of Electricity, described his friend Benjamin Franklin's electrical experiments in detail.

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